Wednesday, March 05, 2008

HydroPhobia: Part the Second

"Call Judy now, she just called me and said to tell you that there's water coming out of the (North) side of your house..."

The words didn’t really have an impact on me immediately. Instead, they floated around in front of my eyes like little Lawrence Welk bubbles for a few seconds. Then as the surface of each of the tiny bubbles succumbed to the air, one by one, the words registered in my left brain. As each one popped into my gray matter and formed the intended thought, they all got on an express elevator and pressed “Basement”.

I quickly composed myself and dialed the number. Larry, an old Waco native, the best neighbor I have, answered.

Me: Talk to me, Larry; Janna just called and said something about a lot of water at my house…
Larry: Ah seen a lot of water coming down ‘tween your and Dwight’s house, so Ah go over there and look, but there wadn’t no hose busted. Ah went an’ turned off your water at the house, by th’ air conditioner unit…
Me: Ulp.
Larry: Ah knocked on yore door, and there weren’t nobody home. Ah didn’t know what else to do…
Me: Gaaah, thanks so much for turning the water off, could you tell anything about where it was coming from?
Larry: Naw, Ah couldn’t tell nothin’ ‘bout where it was comin’ from, Ah just did what Ah could…
Me: Thanks so much, I am headed home now to see what the deal is.
Larry: OK, good luck, neighbor!

Thus began forty minutes of suspense that I do not care to repeat. The whole way, I was guessing and figuring what pipe must have burst. The first suspect, I don’t know why, was the outside faucet on the North side of the house. It’s the same one I broke off with my behind one evening trying to barbeque. If it’s that one, I just need some half inch PVC and some glue and primer, don’t I have some? I don’t know, anyhow, it’ll be twenty-thirty minutes to cut and glue up, wait an hour and it’s all but a memory.

But what if it’s the supply line under the sink in the kitchen? Ugh, how long did the water run before Larry got to the valve? Like the time I had to help Bernadette down the street when her supply line broke; it only ran for about fifteen minutes and there was an inch of water in the kitchen, laundry room and creeping into the living room. And SHE didn’t have carpeting in the living room…OK, shop vac the water out, call the insurance company, get the half inch PVC and a threaded coupling…blah blah blah, contort into impossible angles and try to cut the pipe off straight, then get it all back together. Great, I’ll be looking through the wrong hemisphere of my bifocals, my neck will cramp, my eyes won’t focus, I’ll be laying in water; this could be sorta nasty. Probably take about an hour or two. But we’ll have water.

Hmm, what if it’s the shower hot water supply line that I fixed a couple of years ago in the hall bathroom? Tear out the ceiling again, ugh….wait, what if the pipe in the attic busted? Then I’m up THERE fixing the accursed PVC while balanced on the rafters, these knees…no to mention the bedrooms and hall carpet, and sheetrock, and what about the computer table? Is my Mac OK?

As these scenarios howled in my head, my palms began to sweat and my heart began to race, so much so, that I wondered if I couldn’t join the French Foreign Legion real quick-like. And as I made the turn onto our street, sure enough, the water was running past the curb like the Colorado River. More perspiration. As I screeched to a stop in the driveway, I scanned the garage doors for Victoria Falls coming from beneath them.

Fortunately, nothing. The same report for the North side spigot. But there was a pool of water at the far end, although there was no water coming out of the weep holes of the brick. I mentally ran the plumbing schematic in my brain and determined that there were no pipes at that end of the house. I peeped over the seven foot fence and noticed the swamp in Dwight’s yard. My optimism began to grow, but then again, I hadn’t gotten inside yet.

I entered the house, still wondering what I would find. Coming in from the glorious sunshine of the day, the house was dark and mysterious. Well, “mysterious” may be a bit dramatic, but considering that I may be walking into an aquatic kitchen, the apprehension in my gut was fairly strong.

As my eyes adjusted to the dim-itude in the rooms, I warily eased into the kitchen. There was an amazing lack of water on the floor, and I was bordering on ecstatic. The fears that had followed and hounded me all the way from Pasadena were beginning to vanish. As the relief began to dawn on me, the curiosity rose as well. Where in the heck did all that water come from? Why was there three inches of water in Dwight’s back yard?

I decided to go straight to the source, or the nearest source I could think of. Dwight’s son stays at their house during the day with his aging Grandmother to care for her and run a consulting business. I strode down my driveway, stepped over the Tigris and walked the short distance down the street to the driveway next door. I knocked and Robert came to the door. I asked “Did you guys have a water leak or a busted pipe or something?”
“No,” he said, “the idiot behind us is emptying his above-ground pool, and every time he does it, it floods the back yard. What an idiot.”

Just for good measure, when I got home, I went straight to the back yard and geckoed up the fence in the corner. Sure enough, the siphon hose from Mr. Genius’ four foot deep above ground pool was but five feet from Dwight’s fence, dutifully draining the blue beast. What an inconsiderate loser. It seems that he should have had it drain out to his OWN street.
Well, the mystery was solved and I didn’t have water all in my house. It was four o’clock, the day was beautiful and I was not frantically sawing, gluing and sticking PVC pipe.

I spent some time with my vigilant neighbor, listening to his plans for his new shed and thanking him again and again for watching out for me yet one more time.


i said...

Oh man! What a relief (and, I must admit, a letdown). I was looking for some high drama and tales of bobbing for Macs. Instead it's only Zeke's Easy Set pool.

Well, I'm truly glad you suffered no serious damage, Geez. I think next season a well-placed pellet can help your good backyard neighbor drain his pool quicker.

In my house we came home to find the galvanized pipes had sprung leaks pouring gallons of H20 into our ceiling. The kitchen light was hanging by the wires, water cascading onto the island, which had finally lived up to its name. $7,000.00 and a couple of nights in a local motel put it right.

aA said...

my fear exactly! plumbing is nearly as dangerous as electricity, which i don't believe in, by the way...

HIDDEN pipes that you have to tear things down to get to, THAT's the worst.

I did think of the pellet idea, as a matter of fact, there's one in the chamber...

Anonymous said...

aA...You DO have a wonderful neighbor!